The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats’ recently publicised coalition agreement has confirmed speculation that Home Improvement Packs (HIPs) will be scrapped. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) will be retained.
Dominic Agace, CEO of M Winkworth PLC, responded:
“Abolishing HIPs is generally welcomed and is likely to have a positive effect on property supply, particularly for speculative sellers who may have been deterred by having to pay upfront for the pack.
HIPs were introduced, in part, to negate the need for structural surveys through the inclusion of Home Condition Reports, which is similar to a detailed structural survey of a property. As the Home Condition Reports were not made a mandatory feature of HIPs, sellers were therefore not obliged to provide it. This greatly devalued the credibility of HIPs.
Furthermore, one of the main aims of HIPs was to limit gazumping and gazundering, by providing buyers with all the information about a property upfront. However, both gazumping and gazundering still feature in the market, so it’s hard to see the value in HIPs, which can cost sellers up to £500.
EPCs were the required part of HIPS under E.U law, and were the important part of the HIP to encourage greater energy efficiency in the housing stock. This was the valuable part of the package in the end, and we welcome its retention as an environmental policy, making homes cheaper for people to live in as the overall housing stock improves in time, and in turn improving our overall energy consumption as a country.